BRB Relaunch

This week we are relaunching the BRB app. This blog explains the significant technical changes and our thinking behind those changes. Also in this blog, I go over the sources for the manuscript recovery work. Finally, another headline review.


The link here is to the BRB app. The URL has not changed, so if you have it installed somewhere, you can just launch it to see what we have done. Otherwise follow this link to explore.

Book Addressing

Since this app first went online we have always used a chapter based address system. By this I mean that we always only ever presented 1 chapter at a time. This is in contrast to printed Bibles and to the TT app. Printed Bibles, of course, show entire books while marking chapter breaks with chapter numbers. The TT app also just shows entire books, with headings for the stories that make up each book.

The big obvious change to this release of the BRB is a fundamental shift from Chapter based addressing to whole book addressing. This means that each book gets an entire page and that moving between chapters is done by scrolling. Chapters are marked with chapter numbers just like in printed Bibles, but chapters are not breaks in the flow of the page.

This change fundamentally restores the ability of readers to understand the context for any given verse within any given book. Chapter breaks are in some sense artificial and were often placed in poor locations. The best known example of this is the start of Genesis chapter 2, where it breaks off the end of the creation week from the rest of Genesis chapter 1. Similar examples are spread across the text.

Because context, and seeing entire stories, are so important for understanding the text, we are changing the BRB so story level context and content is never hidden.

In the old BRB it was always the case that the app internally was using whole books. It just never showed all the chapters in a given book. The URL paths were always to whole books. This change is just showing the internal structure to anyone using the app. This alone is not a very big technical change.

Story Headings

The next change, even bigger, is that the BRB now has story headings spread throughout the text. This is just like most modern printed Bibles. This is also just like what we do in the TT app. So the whole BRB has a much more conventional Bible feel to how it works.

Story breaks are very important to track if you are interested, as we are, in studying additions. Often stories mark where editors inserted content. So having clear indications of where stories are breaking helps in understanding where editors were messing with the text.

Menu System Updates

The BRB now offers 2 different ways to configure the top center menu. As always, the left center drop down shows the list of books by book title. No change there.

But the right center menu can display either a list of chapters or a list of stories. There is an option in the options menu to select which form should be used. Chapter menus follow the BRB as it has always worked. Story menus are new, and make the BRB exactly follow the way the menus work in the TT.

Unlike the old BRB, the right menu has the possibility of being an empty box. This happens when a book is first visited. At this point the book heading is at the top. At this point, there is no currently selected chapter nor story. The empty right menu still works. It can be used to select something down inside the book. Play with it a little and you can get a feel for how this works.

URL Handling

Because the app always used full pages internally, the URL links for chapters have not changed. Those links now cause the page to scroll to the indicated chapter. This has a little bit of scrolling animation that shows moving down into the book. This change is functionally equivalent to the old URL system, but it is without the loss of context.

What has been added to the URL is the ability to scroll to a particular story. For anyone who may care, you can mess with the app and see what is going on with the URL to see this in action. When the URL includes a chapter or story then the right menu is not empty.

Chapter Numbers

We have added chapter numbers at all chapter breaks throughout the text. These numbers are 2 lines tall, like found in printed Bibles. This gives the text a definite Bible feel.

Options Changes

The options system for the BRB has dropped the ability to hide verse numbers. This because the verse number address system is so tied to the chapter system. Verse numbers could be hidden in the past in order to turn the BRB into something like a novel. This seems like a strange use case for an app focused on intense study of the text itself.

While these changes create a very nice upgrade to the BRB presentation, these changes have been done to coincide with another major new feature, that is the addition of a system to carry translator notes for each story in the BRB.

By default these notes are not visible, but by using a notes option in the option menu, it is possible to turn on those notes. Notes are replacing the BRB's ability to display text in 2 columns, so that option has been removed. We are using the space of the 2nd column for notes. Of course on narrow screens notes fold inline with the rest of the text.

Adding Notes is a fundamental change in our philosophy behind the BRB. I need to carefully explain our thinking behind adding notes to the text.

Dreaded Study Bibles

Bibles that carry additional notes are called Study Bibles. I first learned of the problem with study Bibles when I was young. Let me share that story again, so you can see why notes in Bibles are such a bad thing. So by extension, why what we are doing also appears to be a bad thing.

After I had been out of college for several years I went back to night school to earn an MBA. Many of the technical challenges at work, like adding features to products, were really business decisions. I wanted more education on how to reason about such things. There was an employee benefit at work where they would pay tuition for advanced schooling. It was a competitive application for what was effectively a tuition grant. I applied giving this product feature problem as my reason why it would be good if the company paid for this schooling. To my shock, I was accepted. So I now had a ticket good for 1 MBA. But, I was still working full time and needed an MBA program where I could attend school at night. The big state school was out. I found a night MBA program at a local Christian college.

That campus had a main campus church. For several years I both went to class at night and I went to that church on Sundays. Though I was not in their school of religion, many of the staff and students from that part of campus were involved in church there. Everyone in church knew the dean of religion, and his wife. I also attended an adult Sunday school and a weekly men's Bible study affiliated with that community. Most men in that group either had or were earning advanced degrees.

The fashion in Bibles in that group was to use NIV Study Bibles. The group of us in the men's bible study took turns leading the group through various books of the Bible, though we actually went through Genesis 3 times over in about 2 years. We did this because we were learning about going deep in the text.

We eventually started to dispute comments found in the NIV Study Bible itself. As a group we were convinced of the problem, and brought it up 1 Sunday at church, in the adult Sunday School. Fundamentally, the publisher of those notes was misleading readers and we could spot why. We were excited young students who wanted to show off what we had found to our teachers.

What we ran into were people who were well trained through the school of religion. But, some of them treated the notes in that Bible as if they were the inspired word of god. To a man, we were dumbfounded by what we saw that Sunday.

Back at the men's Bible study later, this refusal by well educated students of the Bible, to discuss errors in those notes, became a subject of our own discussion. We did not like how people were using them. We did not like how some people could not mentally separate the notes from the text.

As a group, we stopped using study Bibles and switched back to simple printed Bibles. I have never again wanted to see notes bound in with the text of a Bible. I dislike having a discussion about the Bible with anyone who uses a Study Bible. It is a sign that they cannot think for themselves. It is also a sign they they are outside of Luther's original tenants for Protestantism. It marks something like membership in a mild cult.

This is why adding notes to the BRB is such a very radical, very horrible, idea.

Let me review the history of study Bibles themselves, so you can see why they are much more dangerous than just a note on a verse somewhere in Genesis

Scofield Study Bible

My paraphrase: The grand daddy of all Study Bibles was the Scofield Bible. A failed Baptist pastor named Scofield got connected with the original oil magnate named Rockefeller, of Exxon fame. Rockefeller then connected Scofield with rich friends in high places in Europe.

Those rich friends eventually paid for and then published a bunch of text to standard Protestant Bibles. Where on Earth would such people get such a stupid idea?

Of course this is the same trick as Solomon, Ahab/Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Mordecai, Ezra and Ananias played with the base text. History repeats.

With a little control over media, they eventually sold their abomination to ignorant Americans. Those readers did not want to figure out on their own what did god really say.

Protestantism's fundamental tenant is to study the Bible for yourself. If you don't have time, then you are defeated already. By going beyond this tenant you are recreating baby versions of the Catholic Church. Might as well go there, it would be safer.

Eventually, of course, someone will take over, a Pope like Scofield. In Samuel's day it was asking for a king. Like any king or pope, that man will go mad. This is what Luther saw and wanted to prevent. This is what Scofield and his wealthy friends created, this is what we see again now with Israel.

Scofield's evil genius was to rip the principles of Protestantism away from Protestants. What stood in the place of traditional Protestantism was a mass media controlled by a few. Like all others, they had an evil purpose.

In the process they created what today is known as Zionist Christianity. With 2 plans for salvation, world dominion, and much more. Easy enough when you have the power to add to scripture.

Scofield was of course following in the footsteps of a path going all the way back to Solomon. Regular readers know well this story.

So adding text to the Bible is a very, very bad idea. So why would we do this now? Why would we follow in these terrible footsteps? Let me explain.

BRB Notes Goals

Acts 15 suggests it is possible to reason about the text directly. Through that reasoning it is possible to identify the editors. It is also possible to roughly approximate what is the inspired core of the Bible and what is not.

The TT app as we know it now is that approximation. We are now turning our attention to the audit, to do something like was done ahead of the writing of the NT.

For many stories spread across the Bible it is possible to reason about the story and show that it is NOT inspired. The audit will provide STEM based proof. But the reasoning through the use of simple English Bible study is still valid. It can only happen within a tradition that teaches to read the book for yourself.

So if Ryan shares in notes what he knows about what is wrong with the text itself, then he is in effect adding text in order to reduce the effective size of the working text. He is going to explain how to push the text back towards the inspired core. He is showing where not to read and why.

So if some fool reads his notes, and takes those notes to heart, which is the degenerate use of such notes, then perversely they move in the correct direction. This is a very twisted, but very clever, thing to do. Thus I agreed to Ryan's otherwise sinister plan.

BRB Audience

Ryan and I have been working on this BRB upgrade for a few weeks. The original goal was to build another app. We planned to leave the BRB alone, and then add this app as another. This would leave the notes outside of the BRB, but leave them in an otherwise complete Bible.

But after we saw it running we wanted everything except the notes back in the BRB. We then asked the question, what is the audience for the BRB itself?

We would hope anyone who learns of our work would be interested in the TT instead. We would not hope to have regular BRB readers.

If manuscript multiplication works as we expect, then there will be much more writing to come, but that will be provably inspired and built from the TT itself.

So the natural desire for more text that many people have will be satisfied through that writing, not through the Bible.

So the BRB as we know it does not have an enduring use. Indeed, we built it back in the day when we wanted a working Bible text that was audited against original language texts. We cared because it was sacred scripture. We wanted accurate scripture. Now we know the Bible is edited and not sacred.

So now the BRB is a crime scene investigation. Any notes we may end up adding are basically the investigator's report on the crime. This is a redemptive purpose. It will only gain precision as we work on the audit.

But still, who might be interested in the BRB?

Once we are finished with the manuscript work we would expect word to spread on what we have done. When that starts to happen there will be people who both appreciate the audit, but also need to move from deep understanding of the Bible's text to learning what was wrong with that same text. Some of these people will need a direct path from whatever translation they may know to the TT.

The BRB text, with the notes, is intended as a fast way for professionals who have used the Bible in the past to get up to speed on where the text was never inspired, and why it was never inspired. In other words a quick way to learn where the rules of Acts 15 apply, and how they apply to the thinking of the editors.

For this reason, the BRB needs notes.

This week the infrastructure was put in place to add notes to any story anywhere in the Bible. Those notes are still basically empty. But, as we go forward, those notes now have a place to live.

Ryan has not written extensively, publicly, about his work. He does have a bunch of research notes that he intends to move into the BRB. He will need to learn a writer's voice for these notes. That may take some time. But he is now equipped with the tooling he needs to add notes as he wants, where he wants, when he wants.

Audit Status

This past week I have finished a survey of the collection of Bible texts we have in our revision control system. I had not surveyed that collection in several years. I was looking across the list for 2 things.

First I needed a high level survey to understand the list of texts that should be available in our multi-version, verse level, Verse Reader app. The VR app was once online at in the past. It will be returning to here soon.

In that survey I realized our new Bible markup system does not track the natural language of Bible manuscripts. We have English, Hebrew, Greek and Latin texts besides Aramaic/Syriac. We could also imagine adding a few other languages, say German.

To correctly support those languages will require some tinkering in the new build system to pass the language codes through to the browser. This is also needed for font and bidirectional writing support.

I also saw the need for interlinear support, which is much more difficult. Interlinear formatting is an important capability we need to handle in various situations.

Second, I needed to survey all of the manuscripts that we have in our files that are suitable as a basis for full manuscript recovery work. In the past I tried to do this by building a Paleo based critical edition combined from various source documents.

This approach does not work. It requires many hidden steps. It does not let us show our work. Every step in the recovery process needs to be publicly visible so anyone can see the work. Starting out by creating a Syriac document not known to history is not the correct way to begin.

As I read through the notes it became clear that there are really only 2 trustworthy, online, sources for the texts that we need. Let me show the work by giving the links so you can know where they come from. While I am at it, let me review those sources.


ETCBC is a group located in the Netherlands. They are considered the keepers of the Old Testament in Aramaic/Syriac. The link here is to their Git Hub repository. From there are links to other resources including back to their main website.

They are explicit in the Public Domain nature of these manuscripts. Not every source is as explicit, even though the text of ancient documents is always older than copyrights. So we should be able to safely trust this source from a legal perspective.

I have also reviewed some of the code I have used in the past to convert these files to Paleo. Part of that code deals with every single type of glyph in those source files.

Those base documents appear to have been prepared without much care to exactly how their documents are encoded for use by a computer. As I intend to make the Aramaic visible in an app off, I will need to very carefully review the typographical implications of what they are doing.

If I was giving a class in computerizing ancient manuscripts, and a student had turned in a file like theirs, they would not get a very good grade.

They could only pass my class if they could give me a very good reason for the otherwise strange things that they have done in their files.

Aside from strange encoding, the ETCBC files otherwise appear to be satisfactory as a single source document for recovery work for the Old Testament.

Tertullian Syriac NT

We have many different downloaded copies of the Aramaic New Testament in our current revision control system. As I carefully reviewed the notes for those downloads, I found that all of them cite Tertullian as the original place where these files originate. I have linked here to the exact source page. You can back off the URL in your browser to find the home page. It is in an extensive library of ancient documents.

Not all of the downloads that point back to this source are of the same quality. Some did not have vowel points, another had scrambled chapters.

But, the files we directly downloaded from Tertullian in 2019 include vowel points. These points were removed in at least 2 other sources that themselves pointed back at Tertullian. It is unclear if those vowel points were added more recently, or if they were removed intentionally. We do not expect to need vowel points at all, but better to have them in the system rather than to ignore them now.

As with ETCBC, the manuscripts from Tertullian are expressly labeled as public domain. So we do not need to worry about future litigation. These files are themselves sourced from a critical edition of the Aramaic New Testament published in 1905 by the British Bible society. So the source printed book is also well out of copyright.

We will be doing our recovery work starting with only these texts. If we get into serious trouble, we may go back and look for other sources.

Syriac Canon

Taken together these 2 sources represent 92 different downloaded files. At first glance this appears to suggest a 92 book Syriac Canon, but not so fast.

2 of the books from ETCBC downloaded with alternative versions. So the basic canon seems to be 90 books. But then some of the files are extensions to known books in other canons. There is a Psalm 151 and then another group of psalms starting at 152. There are also extensions to various books in the Apocrypha. So it is unclear how to count books in this canon. Such problems.

For reference, the 1611 KJV had 80 books, but some of them were also extensions to other books. Additions to Esther is an example. King James was likely dealing with politics and did not combine any additions with their base books, thus 80 books in his canon. This probably satisfied his Jewish audience, Protestant audience and his Catholic audience. So how to correctly count some of this is unclear.

Modern Protestants use 66 books, but of course several books in that canon are divided. For example, 1 and 2 Samuel instead of the original Samuel.

A good estimate is the inspired text itself is maybe 1/2, or less, than the Protestant canon. So the inspired parts of the Syriac canon is maybe 1/3 or 1/4 of the total Syriac text considered part of their canon.

One of the lessons from the Canon Bible app is that there have been many different Bible Canons used across times in history and places in the world.

If Syriac is the tradition that is keeping a hidden copy of the inspired text, then we need to give some respect to the canon of this tradition. Though it is contrary to our tradition, I am approaching this set of manuscripts with care.

We will eventually be scanning the texts attempting to find inspired passages. That software might as well run the entire canon. It may take a few more minutes of computer time, so what? But, this is the best way to respect the tradition that Joshua appears to have chosen to keep his word across the centuries.

We would expect that this larger cannon will not have passages that pass audit outside of the inspired core. Running the entire Syriac canon through the audit process will provide experimental control over this expectation.

Ancient Sample Texts

There is another reason why we like seeing a very large canon. What such a large canon does is provide a large set of example texts that are built on the same set of vocabulary words and the same grammar.

Even if not inspired, these texts may give some example uses of words that are otherwise used rarely in the inspired subset of this canon.

For that reason, finding a very large canon surrounding an inspired core is not a bad thing. The lexicon system that gets built up from this work may find help in this bigger canon for how ancient writers used otherwise rare vocabulary words.

Of course this has its own risks, the meaning and uses of words may change across time. But the drift from an inspired writer, to an editor, is still only a few hundred years, and not the thousands of years from the ancient inspired writer to our day.

Recovery work will be getting increasing attention over the weeks to come. This is my first public report on this work. I will report more as I have something to share. This is a big job.

Shop Work

Spring has come and the shop is warming up. I have fired up the 3d printers and am working again on the lamp. I am trying to keep at least some of the printers busy while I am doing other computer work.

I have finished building another copy of the lamp. In building a second copy, I was not at all happy with the way the parts were designed to connect together.

After I originally designed the lamp, I then built the Voron 3d printer. That kit taught me a ton about how to design large, plastic, 3d printed objects. The lamp design I did last year is nowhere near up to the same design quality as the Voron. I need to take those unexpected Voron lessons and redesign the lamp before moving on to other objects. Everything else in the set of items will be designed differently now too.

I have ordered a pack of heat set inserts to help with a redesign of the lamp. I am nearly ready to tear into that design and try again.

Why Israel is in Trouble: John Mearsheimer

The link here is to a 1h35m video of well known Political Science Professor John Mearsheimer. He is coauthor of the book The Israel Lobby. In other words John is the guy who wrote the book on Israel's influence in the USA.

John was invited to speak at a conference in Australia, this video is of his 1 hour talk with about 1/2 hour of questions that follow. In this hour he succinctly lays out the state of Israel as it exists today. This is especially in the light of the events since October 7, 2023.

I have linked to his work previously, so regular readers here may already know his work. In the talk linked here, he is not interrupted. So in this form, his argument is easier to follow than any other. He was limited by time and complains at the end that he really needed 2 hours to complete his analysis of Israel's enemies.

There are aspects of modern Israel that are new, that have never been seen before in Israel's modern history. Let me list the surprising points here.

1) They have lost escalation dominance over their neighbors. This means those neighbors now know that Israel can be defeated militarily.

2) Since October 7, 2023, roughly 500,000 Israelis have left the country. He cites Poland as being the most common destination for Israeli refugees seeking citizenship. On a 7,000,000 population base this is already a 7 percent loss of population. Likely this loss is skewed to the wealthy who can afford to move. The prophetic is that they will become refugees. This is already starting.

3) Though the traditional Arab world is now subservient to Israel, there are now 4 distinct enemies to Israel in the region. 1) Iran, 2) Hezbollah, 3) Hamas, and 4) The Houthis. These foes are roughly aligned with each other, Iran of course the dominant foe. But each have distinct and different leadership, and are operating relatively independently.

4) Northern Israel remains evacuated. This because of Hezbollah rocket barrages into Israel in support of Hamas. This is not easy for the Israeli government to fix. They have never had long term success in Lebanon, the Hezbollah bases are well underground and well stocked with many thousands of missiles.

5) Though Israel is a nuclear armed nation, so too was South Africa. Israel is an apartheid state just as was South Africa. Israel does not express apartheid exactly the same, as John rebuts in a question. South Africa was dismantled without the use of nuclear weapons. So Israel's nuclear weapons are no guarantee of their continued existence.

6) The traditional 2 state solution proposed by many US Presidents is now off the table. John leaves the obvious point unspoken, it is now a fight to the finish over who will rule over all of that territory. 500,000 Israelis have already voted with their feet over the eventual winner. The goal of a single state solution is why Israel is so aggressive in Gaza and why Israel is in such trouble.

If you do watch this video into the Question and Answer session, ask yourself is the host of the meeting just an observer to Israel or is he Masonic or Zionist? Why might we think so?

Iran's Raisi

The link here is to an article by Pepe Escobar dealing with the implications of the death of Iran's highest elected official. Raisi's death happened last Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Almost nobody following that headline believes Raisi's death was an accident. From Israel media announcing his death before the wreckage was reached, to a strange flight of an American plane out of Jordan, and many more strange bits of news, the circumstantial evidence of foul play is high. The Russians clearly thought so. The prophetic on this was the Jews think they have killed Paul. Not so.

The link above takes a different tact, it explains the 3 way relationship between Russia, China and Iran. I have called China and Iran 2 of Job's 3 friends. India should eventually join, but is still severely colonized. In any case, Pepe Escobar gives an insightful, well cited, high level, explanation about how Raisi's death should not fundamentally altar the ongoing shift being seen in world political alignments. Russia and China have been forming a strong bond and Iran is a near 3rd.

The 2 sides in World War III are starting to form. Zionists lead one side of that war, having colonized the USA and Europe and many other parts of the world. Russia, China and everyone else is the other side.

Refloating Dali, Baltimore Open

The link here is to the What's Up With Shipping Youtube channel. This video includes details and video of the Dali being moved from the bridge back to a dock. The harbor entrance is also now reopened, but with some limits. The channel is now 400 feet wide, 50 feet deep, with the requirements of 2 tugs on each transiting ship. Crews are still working on removing wreckage so ships passing that site must coordinate movements with salvage crews.

Having regular access to that port is really good news. This is quicker than most observers initially expected. Strange to see the American government doing something with some competence. There is still much work to do in terms of clearing out the remains of the old bridge.

A Rock? Or a UFO?

This final link is on the lighter side. Some readers here know our various testimonies involving UFOs. Sometimes lights in the sky are natural. Sometimes not.

The link here is to an example of such a rock coming in west bound over Spain and then Portugal. The color here is blue, we would normally watch for an orange/green mix. So this is more likely a rock.

The important question: Is this a shooting star? Or is this a UFO going through reentry? You decide.

For anyone near the northwest Atlantic coast of Portugal, beware of strange encounters and new prophetic calls.

More Later,